UNDERSTANDING YOUR OPTIONS WITH AN ATLANTA SHOPLIFTING LAWYER

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Find a skilled legal defense with an Atlanta shoplifting lawyer. Get expert advice & representation to navigate your case effectively. Contact us now.

Blake Ledbetter Atlanta AttorneyAuthor: J. Blake Ledbetter, Partner, Conoscienti & Ledbetter

Mr. Ledbetter specializes in civil litigation in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia, and possesses vast experience in wrongful death lawsuits. Mr. Ledbetter was recognized as a SuperLawyers Rising Star in 2018 and 2019 in the area of Civil Litigation. Published on October 10, 2023.

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Atlanta Shoplifting Attorney: Dealing With Your Shoplifting Charges

Shoplifting is one of the most commonly committed theft crimes in Atlanta. It involves stealing, concealing, or taking items outside a retail store without consent. This can be jewelry from a department store or medicine from a pharmacy. Shoplifting may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the stolen item’s value.

Were you arrested for shoplifting in Georgia? You may be in danger of a criminal conviction. It is crucial that you consult a Georgia shoplifting attorney as soon as possible. Our criminal defense attorneys at Conoscienti and Ledbetter understand the seriousness of shoplifting charges and their potential impact on your life. We can assess the specific circumstances of your case, evaluate the evidence against you, and develop a strategic defense to help you avoid a criminal conviction.

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What Is Shoplifting Under Georgia Law?

According to the Georgia Code 16-8-14, you commit the offense of shoplifting when you:

  • Conceal or take goods from any store or retail establishment

  • Change the price tag or label on the goods

  • Transfer the goods in the retail store from one container to another

  • Interchange the price tag or label on one item with that of another

  • Cause the amount paid is below the merchant’s original price

Shoplifting is done to appropriate the owner’s goods for your use without payment. This results in depriving the owner of the value of their possession.

Additionally, shoplifting is often considered theft. If you are facing an Atlanta shoplifting charge, it may help to consult with an Atlanta shoplifting lawyer to defend you and protect your rights.

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What Are the Penalties for Shoplifting in Georgia?

Georgia courts take shoplifting charges seriously. Your penalties will depend on the quantity and value of the stolen goods and whether you have prior shoplifting convictions. Shoplifting is a misdemeanor offense if the value of stolen goods is $500 or less. Shoplifting is a felony offense in the following circumstances:

  • The value of the stolen item is above $500

  • You stole items from three different stores in the same county within seven days, and their value exceeds $500

  • The items were taken during a 180 days period, and their total value exceeds $500

  • It is your fourth or subsequent conviction for shoplifting

Felony shoplifting is punishable by imprisonment between one and ten years. A second misdemeanor or felony conviction will result in a fine of at least $500 that’s not be subject to suspension or probation. A third conviction will result in a mandatory thirty-day jail time.

The judge may also order your 120-day confinement to house arrest, probation boot camp, or another correctional facility. In addition to the confinement, they may request that you undergo psychological evaluation. You will be responsible for paying for the treatment and cannot suspend or defer it.

Are There Other Consequences of Shoplifting?

Georgia law permits property owners to bring a civil claim against the defendant. Therefore, the retail store can file a lawsuit against you to recover compensatory damages for their loss. The court may also award punitive damages to deter you and others from shoplifting. Where the court orders restitution and you fail to pay, you may incur additional fines.

Shoplifting theft is often considered a crime of moral turpitude. If you are an immigrant, you can face severe immigration consequences. This may include deportation or a permanent bar from the United States. If you have a green card, it may be revoked by immigration authorities.

Further, a shoplifting conviction may result in a permanent criminal history. This can make it challenging to get a job or secure good housing. Most employers and landlords frown at prospective employees or tenants with criminal records. A permanent criminal record can affect your chances of getting a professional license. It may also result in high insurance premiums.

Hiring experienced criminal lawyers can give you a better opportunity to avoid a conviction for felony or misdemeanor shoplifting. If you are a first-time offender, we may be able to negotiate a pre-trial diversion program with the prosecution. Upon completion of the program, the court will dismiss your criminal charges.

    Don’t delay. Schedule a risk-free consultation today.

    Are There Any Defences to Shoplifting?

    Several defenses may be available depending on your case. Some common defenses to shoplifting charges include:

    • Innocence/alibi: The police may have arrested you due to false witness testimony. The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you shoplifted. An alibi that places you at a different location during the time of the offense may prove your innocence.

    • Lack of intention: You cannot be convicted of shoplifting if the prosecution cannot prove criminal intent. You may have mistakenly taken items from a store, believing you had paid for them. Lack of intention is not a defense to shoplifting if you are charged with theft.

    • Entrapment: One typical entrapment case involves undercover police officers pretending to be store employees. They may ask you to take items from the store without paying for them. The court will consider whether the average person would have committed the offense under similar circumstances.

    • Insufficient evidence: The prosecution has the burden of proof to show that you committed the offense. If there is inadequate evidence, the court may dismiss your charges.

    • Illegal search and seizure: Your Atlanta shoplifting lawyer can challenge the legality of a search and seizure by police officers. Any evidence they obtain may be inadmissible in court if they conducted an illegal search.

    How Can a Shoplifting Attorney Help?

    When you hire our criminal defense lawyerswe can take several actions to fight your charges. Some legal services we can provide include:

    • Creating a defense strategy to help you avoid a conviction
    • Collecting evidence (e.g., witness statements and surveillance footage)
    • Educating you about shoplifting laws and Atlanta court processes
    • Enrolling you in a pre-trial diversion program
    • Informing you about the potential consequences of your charges
    • Investigating the arrest for violations of your rights
    • Negotiating with the prosecution to minimize or dismiss your charges
    • Providing you with legal guidance on your shoplifting case
    • Representing you in court

    SPEAK TO A SHOPLIFTING LAWYER IN ATLANTA TODAY

     

    Shoplifting is a serious crime that can impact your future. You should not fight your shoplifting charges on your own. Hiring a criminal defense attorney to protect your interests is to your advantage.

    At Conoscienti and Ledbetter, we know how devastating criminal charges can be. We can aggressively challenge your case and present evidence that serves your interests. Our attorneys have experience handling several shoplifting cases. We will work with you throughout your case and represent you at trial.

    If you or a loved one were arrested for shoplifting, do not put yourself at risk of a criminal conviction. Contact our law office today.

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    (404) 328-7276
    315 W Ponce de Leon Ave. Suite 400 Decatur, GA 30030

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